Step Up Your Relationship Efforts

Step Up Your Relationship Efforts… Before You Really Have To
Step Up Your Relationship EffortsHave you ever noticed how people get their act together after a breakup or a divorce?    Okay, maybe not at first.  To begin with they’re an emotional wreck.  I’m talking about how they eventually get themselves on track in every way.
You’d be surprised at how many relationships could have been rekindled if the out of shape, beer guzzling slug or the nagging witch would have made a few changes before the love in the relationship died.  Make a fresh start to your relationship today, before you really have to.
Here are 10 strategies that are cheaper than a divorce and easier than starting over:
1)     Have a better sense of humor.  Put laughter back into your life.  Tell more jokes.  Show your partner your playful, goofy side.  Make your relationship fun.  If something goes wrong, don’t be so serious.  Try to find something funny or respond with a smile.
2)    Be more passionate.  Most people seem to be sleepwalking through their days.  Be more expressive.  Stop taking your partner for granted.  Tell them you love them in such a way that they absolutely know it!  Don’t let your relationship get infected with boredom.  Get excited about your life and your partner.
3)    Get in better shape.  Once we land the partner of our dreams, we tend to let ourselves go.  It’s like we no longer have to try, because we have caught the partner we wanted.  Don’t make your partner prove that they have total and unconditional love for you.  Exercise, eat right, and maintain good health practices.  While you are at it, splash on some cologne or dab on some perfume.
4)    Be encouraging.  Nothing lets the air out of a relationship like being negative.  Anyone can criticize and find fault.  Over time your partner will dread seeing you if you are constantly criticizing them.  Be your partner’s biggest fan.  Build them up.  Positive reinforcement will bring out the best in your partner.
5)    Be spontaneous.  Routines are important, but too much regimen will become a drag.  Occasionally do something out of the ordinary.  Strive to surprise your partner.  Do something that is out of character for you.
6)    Be more thoughtful.  After a long day at work or taking care of small children, it’s easy to make excuses for our behavior.  Never allow yourself to be anything but thoughtful to your partner.  You were able to do this when you began dating.  Be considerate.  Speak kind words.  Pause before you speak if you’re tired or aggravated.  Give your partner the same respect you’d give to your employer or a special customer.
7)    Be willing to talk and to listen.  Do you remember how it was in the beginning?  You could stay up all night long talking.  You wanted to hear every word your partner had to say.  You wanted to get to know all you could about their hopes and dreams.  Every story was exciting and you hung on with interest.  Put this same level of enthusiastic interest towards your partner today.  You don’t know all there is to know.  Your partner is constantly evolving and experiencing new things.  Be a part of this with him or her.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that your partner won’t talk to you if you are quick to argue, get defensive, or steal the conversation.  Convey that you really do want to know your partner.
8)    Be flexible.  Things don’t have to always be your way.  Go shopping with your lady and watch a ballgame with your man.  Make yourself enjoy it.  Take turns picking the restaurant.  Be willing to give more of your time.
9)    Have your priorities straight.  Your relationship is a top priority.  I would say it is second only to God with occasional exceptions for your children.  You will see a rapid difference in the quality of your relationship once you make your partner and your relationship the priority.
10) Be willing to work at it.  I often hear people state they believe a great relationship should happen on its own.  You have a successful career because you work at it.  You have well mannered children because you work at it.  The same will be true for your relationship.  If you put the same 80% to 100% effort into your relationship, you will divorce-proof your future.
Little things mean a lot.  These actions are simple and easy to make as part of your relationship.  Through consistent practice, they can become habits.  These kinds of habits will keep your love alive and fresh.

Mark Webb is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice at South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center in Valdosta. Mark Webb is also the author of How To Be A Great Partner and founder of Partner Focused Relationships™.  Sign up for Mark Webb’s “Relationship Strategies”  Ezine ($100 Value).  Just visit his website at http://www.powerfulrelationshipadvice.com or http://www.therelationshipspecialist.com

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